Yesterday, Timothy Cardinal Dolan posted a brief note at his site where he unambiguously reprimands those treating immigrants with hostility and scorn.
A week or so ago, I watched with shame as an angry mob in southern California surrounded buses filled with frightened, hungry, homeless immigrants, shaking fists, and shouting for them to “get out!”
It was un-American; it was un-biblical; it was inhumane. It worked, as the scared drivers turned the buses around and sought sanctuary elsewhere.
The incendiary scene reminded me of Nativist mobs in the 1840’s, Know-Nothing gangs in the 1850’s, and KKK thugs in the 1920’s, who hounded and harassed scared immigrants, Catholics, Jews, and Blacks.
I think of this sad incident today, the feast of New York’s own Kateri Tekakwitha, a native-American (a Mohawk) canonized a saint just three years ago. Unless we are Native Americans, like Saint Kateri, our ancestors all came here as homesick, hungry, hopeful immigrants. I don’t think there were any Mohawks among that mob attacking the buses of refugee women and children.
I’ve mostly seen people across the political spectrum treat this issue with common sense and human decency. But I have also seen some exceptions, especially from faithful Catholics. I hope these words from Dolan will convict and soften the hearts of those who have let cynicism replace faith, hope, and love.
And if a Cardinal’s remarks won’t do the trick, here is the Pope!